I know the Mid-American Conference is gaining in reputation and stature. Western Michigan is a good football team. Coach Lloyd Carr told us so during the Michigan football luncheon earlier this week.
"I coached in the MAC," Carr said. "I coached at Eastern Michigan. I'm familiar with the MAC. I think it's been a great training ground for a lot of coaches who are now coaching in the Big Ten. There's something there. Going back years ago, Miami (Ohio) used to regularly beat teams from the Big Ten and last weekend Miami beat North Carolina. That says all you need to say."
Carr didn't stop there, though.
He went on to say more.
"A year ago, Toledo beat a very good Big Ten team (Penn State) and the year before that they beat a good Big Ten team, also," Carr said. "The perception is that you should never lose. The truth is that with the reduction in scholarships -- that's what I think it comes down to really -- those teams can recruit talented athletes. There's extremely good coaching in the MAC.
"The schools have supported those programs financially. The facilities at Central Michigan and Western Michigan are outstanding and in some ways as good or better than ours. There's been a commitment there. Those people have done a good job."
Poor Lloyd sends his Wolverines up against Western Michigan at 12:10 p.m. EDT Saturday at The Big House. Both teams are 1-0. Michigan opened with a last-play victory over Washington. Western beat Indiana State 48-17. Junior college transfer quarterback Chad Munson threw four touchdown passes.
Munson is following the footsteps of Jeff Welsh, who broke a pair of Western Michigan records in the Broncos' 38-21 loss to Michigan last year. Welsh set records for completions (36) and pass attempts (58). His 374 yards passing also was a career high.
Don't look for a repeat. Or Carr will be fuming coming Sunday morning.
"They remind me of Western Michigan because we played them a year ago," he said. "They spread you out. I think they're an extremely well-coached football team and I mean that. Offensively, I think their quarterback is very well coached. The Welsh kid a year ago, we hit him a hundred times and he kept getting up and making plays. They do a great job mechanically with their techniques.
"They hurt us a year ago with the fake to the tailback on the draw play and then throwing the ball to receivers who had then gotten behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties. They had some success with that. They got their tight end the ball in the seams. I like the things they do. Their scheme is good. They're going to throw and not just try to run over you."
The Wolverines will counter with a secondary anchored by sophomore sensation Marlin Jackson. All he did last week was line up one-on-one with Washington's Reggie Williams and shut down one of the nation's top wide receivers. Jackson springs Michigan into action.
Truth is, the Wolverines have too much size, speed and strength for Western Michigan. (I know they're a good football team. Blah, blah, blah ...). So, look for Carr to goals for his team to make improvement from Game 1 to Game 2 in specific areas. I can see the chalkboard now: Cut down on the number of sacks allowed. Rush for 200-250 yards. Create 2-3 turnovers.
Also, look for Carr to experiment with some new personnel. This might be a good opportunity to get backup quarterback Spencer Brinton into the ballgame, perhaps as early as the second quarter. Why not let him play some valuable minutes? The point is not to create a quarterback controversy. Rather, it is to let Brinton gain experience under fire.
Likewise, David Underwood and Tim Bracken may get opportunities to run with the football. And what about the true freshmen? If any of them are going to play, this is the time. Gabe Watson, say hello to center Jake Gasaway and the rest of the Broncos.
If you set goals and meet them, you win. If you are able to take a look at some newcomers, even for short periods of time, you win. Running up a big score is unnecessary. The Wolverines are 15-0 against teams from the Mid-American Conference, 3-0 against Western Michigan. Don't be fooled by Carr's statements. He needs to work on his poor-Lou Holtz gig.
Kremer's call: Michigan 42, Western Michigan 10.
Thanks for reading. Now, I'll go back to my little korner of the world.
Forecast: Michigan will remain perfect
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